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Not Safeguarding Communities from Poorly Sited Wireless, Including the Sidewalk in Front of Your House…since 1996

By Patricia Burke of Safe Tech International with Courtney Gilardi, Art Courtesy Floris Freshman

5G in the Big City

On Nov. 5, the New York Times published, What Are Those Mysterious New Towers Looming Over New York’s Sidewalks? “As the city upgrades to 5G wireless, the streetscape is changing. Not everyone is impressed.”

Environmental Health Trust compiled additional news coverage. “5G in New York City is making headlines news. People are shocked at how ugly the monster poles are and they are also concerned about the long-term safety of the radiation. Here is a list of the latest news reports from New York City about these 5G poles.”

It’s not just cities.

Wireless Telecommunications in the Countryside

 “If our federal, state, and local government won’t protect us, who can?”

Why Are We Not Both Connected and Protected, And Who Gets to Decide to Put an Antenna in the Chimney of Subsidized Housing?

Lenox MA is an example of a community seeking to improve cell coverage.

As reported by the Berkshire Eagle, “It’s down to the wire for the town’s efforts to gain voter approval of a new telecommunications bylaw that seeks to improve cell reception in underserved areas. An opposition group has been speaking out at Planning Board and Select Board meetings, voicing opinions about health hazards of radio-frequency emissions from cell installations.

A [ ] forum was held in October 2020, when the Lenox Housing Authority was considering an application for a low-power cell antenna to be installed in the chimney of the Curtis subsidized housing complex in the center of downtown.

The proposed project was sidelined after Curtis residents and opposition groups raised concerns at public meetings.”

How is it that the drives for connectivity and health and environment are allowed to compete rather than cooperate?

The Wireless Industry and Military-Industrial Complex – Let’s Party Like its 1999…or ‘96

In 2016, Katharine McEntee, writing for Bustle, listed “11 Things That Were Trendy In 1996” that exhibited fashion longevity: slip dresses, chokers, overalls, matchy minis, track pants, gingham, one-piece swim suits, pigtails, headbands, mini-sunglasses, and sweatbands.

Fashion trends may come and go, but if an auto mechanic or physician or plumber were to refer to 1996 guidance in order to justify a course of action, they could most likely be found negligent , because cars, health, and household plumbing has changed in the course of several decades.

So has telecommunications.

Historians of the future will find it incredulous that while hundreds of drugs have been put on the market and then subsequently removed due to adverse effects, that the wireless industry encoded its own pro-industry regulations in 1996 in the United States, and that many are still in effect.


Section 704 of The Telecommunications Act of 1996 ““No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions [ ].”

The U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Spectrum Act of 2012 limit local government’s ability to place infrastructure for cellular communications. and simultaneously facilitates industry deployment.” – Physicians for Safe Technology

The Telecom Act followed the 1976 agreement to ignore Russian warnings about radio frequencies: “If the more advanced nations of the West are strict in the enforcement of stringent exposure standards, there could be unfavorable effects on industrial output and military functions.”


Despite profound changes in the wireless sector, creating massive increases in juxtaposed, cumulative, chronic exposures and reported adverse health effects, the trend towards pro-industry entitlements is still careening out of control, not only in the U.S., but worldwide.

Lack of Premarket Research

In 2008, the National Academies summarized of list of research needs related to effects of wireless technologies:

The list includes:

  • Exposure of juveniles, children, pregnant women, and fetuses both for personal wireless devices (e.g., cell phones, wireless personal computers [PCs] and for RF fields from base station antennas;
  • Multilateral exposures;
  • Multiple frequency exposure;
  • Exposure to pulsed radiofrequency radiation; 
  • Models for men and women of various heights and for children of various ages;
  • Exposure to others sources of RF radiation such as cordless phones, wireless computer communications, and other communications systems;  
  • Exposure to the eyes, hand or the human lap or parts of the body close to the device;  
  • RF exposure in close proximity to metallic adornments and implanted medical devices (IMDs) including metal rim glasses, earrings, and various prostheses (e.g., hearing aids, cochlear implants, cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps, Deep Brain Stimulators);  
  • Sufficiently long exposure and follow‐up to allow for detection of effects that occur with a latency of several years;
  • Lack of information concerning the health effects associated with living in close proximity to base stations
  • Research that includes children, the elderly, and people with underlying diseases.

This would imply lack of adequate safety study of those in subsidized housing with underlying diseases.

Error #1: Decision Makers Unmovable Due to Corporate Influence $$$$$

Some decision-makers are compromised by industry funding. For example, according to Open Secrets, “Top Industries” supporting MA Senator Edward Markey from 2017 – 2022 include Communications/Electronic at $1,261,692.00.

Error #2: Deferring to the FCC, IEEE, ICNIRP, and other Pro-Industry Groups That Continue to Promote the “Thermal Standard”

Elected officials often defer to compromised state, local, national, and international authorities, such as the FCC, an agency captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate. 

As noted by the Environmental Health Trust, FCC and ICNIRP do not protect people or the environment.

How do decision-makers respond when informed that standards-setting organizations are not safeguarding health and the environment?

Some are asking good questions. (Others not so much.)

US Senator Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G Wireless Technology Health Risks at Senate Hearing See: “Flying Blind” on the Health Effects of 5G Wireless Technology Confirmed at US Senate Hearing After Senator Blumenthal Questions Industry – Environmental Health Trust (ehtrust.org) “we’re flying blind”

In Addition to Industry, IEEE Has Not Done Its Homework, Either

The planning board at a recent meeting in Lenox Massachusetts deferred to the IEEE.

Courtney Gilardi of http://www.stoptower.com lost her home due to family health issues that occurred after the installation of a 115-foot tower in her Pittsfield neighborhood. Speaking to the Lenox Board about the intention to increase cellular coverage, she noted,

“Tonight it was said that the planning board feels comfortable with the consultant because he has an IEEE certification. I wanted to share a little bit of information about IEEE limits [ ] that should go in the written record. 

IEEE Reliance on Animal Studies

IEEE limits are based on small animal studies, importantly, the IEEE standard determines th  established critical temperature levels leading to adverse biological effects- the “effect threshold” which they determined to be 4 W/kg 0 citing only a few ancient animal studies. The sixth row of Table B.10 on page 125 of the IEEE standard lists the studies specifically: 

US Exposures Limits: A History of Their Creation documents how ANSI and IEEE limits were developed, despite awareness of biological effects.

Dominated by Industry, IEEE Committee is Chaired by longtime Motorola Scientist. 

IEEE RF Committee TC 95 Chair is CK Chou, who was decades long Chief Scientist at Motorola for Electromagnetic Radiation. See him listed as Chair here. See the latest safety standard by IEEE listing Chou as Chair here page 7 that lists authors. 

Chair CK Chou CK Chou is former Chief Scientist at Motorola for Electromagnetic Radiation.  He has been decades long in this position as Chair of the IEEE committee that issues  ”safety limits” TC 95. CK Chou joined Motorola in 1998 and became the Director of the Corporate EME Research Laboratory. He was the Chief Electromagnetic Scientist with Motorola from 2001 to 2013.

More about the IEEE Group that looks at RF and Safety 

Ronald Petersen*, Secretary – Bell Labs (Nokia, AT &T over years) for three decades bio

Kevin Graf, Co-Chair (SC3) – Engineer Exponent- industry Consulting firm bio  

Robert Kavet, Co-Chair (SC3) – Engineer at EPRI- industry consultant firm bio

Artnarong Thansandote, Co-Chair (SC4)  Engineer bio

Marvin Ziskin, Co-Chair (SC4) Numerous Research studies funded by wireless industry example here. 

IEEE War Gaming

“When first reports that cell phone radiation could damage DNA emerged from the laboratory of Henry Lai and N.P. Singh, a memo written by Motorola to their media advisors in 1994 announced the clear strategy that remains alive and well: war-game the science.”  – Courtney Gilardi correspondence to Lenox.

IEEE’s Dr. Kent Chamberlain, What the Science Really Says

Lenox’s Tri-Town Health Department brought in a far more credentialed IEEE lifetime member, Dr. Kent Chamberlin, to present to residents on August 19, 2021 of last year. He recommended any towers in Lenox be placed 1640′ away from residences.

See: Town of Lenox Board of Health Remote Meeting, August 19, 2021, with presentation by Kent Chamberlin, Ph.D., on Cell Tower Research. Town of Lenox Board of Health Remote Meeting, August 19, 2021, with presentation by Kent Chamberlin, Ph.D., on Cell Tower Research. (ctsbtv.org)

Kent Chamberlin received his Ph.D. from Ohio University, specializing in computational electromagnetics. His research has been devoted to modeling radio wave propagation including interfering radiation from computing devices and wave phenomena in the human body. Dr. Chamberlin is the Past-Chair and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and he is currently a founder in a high-tech startup company.  In his more than thirty-five years in academia, he has performed research for more than twenty-five sponsors, including the National Science Foundation.  He has received two Fulbright awards, including the prestigious Fulbright Distinguished Chair, which he served in Aveiro, Portugal.  He has also served as an Associate Editor for the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and he continues to be active in performing research and publishing.

David Maxson, the town’s paid consultant, on the other hand, recommended placing infrastructure in neighborhoods and co-locating them on residential buildings, which the current zoning bylaw to be voted on is advocating for. 

IEEE’s James Lin: On the Right Side of History, This is What Integrity Sounds Like

In May 2021, Science, Politics, and Groupthink [Health Matters] by James Lin was published in IEEE Microwave Magazine. He discussed politics and science against the narratives of covid and wireless safety.

“Humans are not always rational or as transparent as advertised, and scientists are not impervious to conflicts of interest and can be driven by egocentric motivations. Humans frequently make choices and decisions that defy clear logic.

Science has never been devoid of politics, believe it or not.

Biases can impair rational judgment and lead to poor decisions. Emotions can keep humans from being rational and prevent us from arriving at obvious conclusions. At times, humans systematically make choices and decisions that defy clear logic.

When decisions are not arrived at by prudently balancing the facts or are made via impaired rational judgment, it could lead to poor decisions through biases. Sometimes, such poor decisions may impact only a small number of individuals.

Cellular mobile communication and associated wireless technologies have proven, beyond any debate, their direct benefit to humans. However, as for the verdict on the health and safety of billions of people who are exposed to unnecessary levels of RF radiation over extended lengths of time or even over their lifetimes, the jury is still out. When confronted with such divergent assessments of science, the ALARA—as low as reasonably achievable—practice and principle should be followed for RF health and safety.” –

That is not what we are doing.

New Hampshire, Italy: On the Right Side of History

A bipartisan commission from the State of New Hampshire led the nation in not “drinking the Koolaide” regarding wireless harm. Their report featured 15 recommendations including reducing public exposure to wireless, radiation measurements, reducing radiation from cell phones and protection of trees and bees, including setbacks from residences.

The Court of Turin (Italy) ruled in February 2020 that ICNIRP (international Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection) should not be relied upon for meaningful guidelines due to bias. “ICNIRP refuses to acknowledge the robust body of peer reviewed research demonstrating harmful bio-effects from manmade radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. ICNIRP produces ‘guidelines’ which are based largely on theory and do not take into account independent experimental evidence.”

Santa Coming Down the Chimney in Subsidized Housing?

Santa can drop down the chimney of the subsidized housing complex in Lenox this year only because of the actions of engaged and informed citizens, and not because of regulatory agencies and paid politicians relying on outdated science.

Perceptive readers will note how many low-income and black neighborhoods in NYC were the recipients of new 5G monopoles.

This is a burgeoning, unacknowledged social justice and refugee issue, including over-running to the right to safe and secure housing.  

In a David and Goliath battle against monopoly industries not required to safeguard health and the environment, how did those seeking to protect their lives, their children’s health, the environment, and property rights become marginalized?

Rather than denial, dismissal, ridicule, and disdain towards those raising concerns, isn’t it time admit that the science is outdated, and inaccurate? Is it time to problem solve and seek solutions? Yes, it is.

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